Refining • Redefining Understanding

Sutra 2.10 - Te Pratiprasavah Heya Sukshmah

when ya think you got it going on, and you think you have a strong idea of what it  is; check again. And again.... over and over. 

 (and then do it again)

Alec has landed in India, jetlag officiously integrated into a new foreign time clock that will be apart of his life over the next six months.

Today, DECEMBER FIRST (where the fuck did 2016 go?! Holy shit! I don't know about you but I'm super stoked to invite 2017 in!)I settled into a 6 hour nap at noon, waking up refreshed, grounded, all with a huge swirl of happiness pouring out of my eyes as i stared into the mirror. 2016 has been the most challenging and rewarding year of my young 25, and in great humility I reveal; I struggled a Fuck ton. I cried a lot, I wanted to give up a lot, which I will never do, and I said I'm sorry a lot. If I didn't, I'll say it now. I'm sorry for those I hurt and I forgive those who hurt me. If it's one thing I have through the entire struggle. It is Yoga. I chase yoga. 


"You can do this", he told himself, with chills running across his chest and arms.


With one week of practice embraced with Eddie modestini (ill share more about this extraordinary person later) and his partner Kristin Bosteels, I have landed in Bangalore to study with one of the worlds greatest Senior Yoga Teachers; Sri HS Arun. This is a grounding blessing and a direct manifestation of my prayers over the last 6 years of cultivating a foundation to just now, begin practicing yoga. 


the term Guru- is so loaded in our modern day of yoga. Well, in America at least. It is tradition here. Culture.I have an Indian teacher, guruJi- and I feel blessed to receive such a transmission from a man who studied 45 years with Mr. Iyengar. BKS never told anyone but ArunJi (Ji is a respectful marker added to someone's name) to explore and investigate the postures and practice of yoga- and thus comes a unique practice.


i started with vinyasa yoga, about 5 and a half years ago. Vinyasa in today's age is a beautiful starting marker to learn how to breathe. To wake up inside of our vessel and understand how to operate inside of our skin. (Always knowing... it's a temporary lease on an everlasting soul journey) This is what it taught me. The past 3 years I have been diving deep into ashtanga vinyasa yoga under Mary Taylor, Ty Landrum, and Richard Freeman at the yoga Workshop in Boulder. Their approach to this systematized practice is special, radical, and redefined. The coupling of breath- with intense asanas- with the dristhi (gazing points) develop a stirring up of emotion & consciousness; producing evolution at a rapid rate. 

I am not practicing vinyasa, ashtanga vinyasa, NOR iyengar yoga here. Iyengar yoga (to my understanding) is a strong practice filled with props and consistent verbal direction. I'll taste that In a few weeks when we go study with Manouso Manos in Bellur. (More on that later).


Here in Bangalore, arun teaches with chairs, straps, blankets, blocks, & rungs on the walls, which may resemble Iyengar Yoga. The difference here is this great settling into the pose. 


We hold some powerful asana's for 5-10 minutes per side, using the props to find comfort and support in the body. Some poses are modified from their complete form, in order to rest in the pose and maintain integrity for 10 minutes. 


Sitting in marichasana C for 8 minutes per side?! You're fucking crazy, you must be thinking. 


yeah. It is. 


viparata Dandasana in a chair for 5-10 minutes? "That's intense"  

20-25 minute shoulder stands. All day, baby!!  


how do you do that you must be wondering. Well, let's go back a month to Maui first to explain some newly found tools that are a complete 180° turn from what I've learned in the last 5 years.

"please forget everything you think you know" 

when I was in Maui studying with Eddie - I was thrown into the washing machine, the dial was turned on high heat and I entered wash cycle for 150 hours. Then I was thrown into a kiln and that's where I am now! 

Eddie says on day 4 while discussing pranayama, "Alec, oh yeah, this guy has a strong addiction to ujayii breath." 

I humbly bow my head to eddie & receive his guidance on where to move in my practice. He mentions when we use our ujayii breath 100% of the time in vinyasa, ashtanga, driving the car, in the grocery line,  it becomes robotic and almost unconscious in its conscious activation; we miss something. 

He didn't say what. 

thats for you to find out. 


this is is what I did experience though...  (click the link, yo)


other tools revealed within settling into postures for 5-15 minutes: 

 • be still - resist all movement and SEEK comfort in any discomfort 

• use jiva bandha to soften the jaw line

          | this is a practice of bringing the tip of the tounge to the back edge of the front two teeth where the tooth meets the enamel of the gums, lighting applying pressure | 

• seek comfort again

• reliquinish ujayii breath. Just stop. Watch the breath naturally unfold and continue to bring attention to the breath patterns.... without closing the glottis muscle. 


Hold on, wait a minute. Don't breath ujayii breath?! What the fuck, that's Bizzare. it's different. 

Yeah. I know. Tell me about it. But damn, there is some powerful medicine in learning how to breath from the very start. It is like learning how to walk for the first time again.  

There is a placement of the attention on the heart, as you read in the hyperlink above (do it if you skipped it)- allowing the breath to breathe naturally, with no constriction or control on how it expands and contracts in the diaphragm. This is a practice designed to truly settle into our samskaras as they float to the surface in our stillness. 


Eddie goes on to mention- you use ujayii breath when you truly need it. 


So.. this is the new evolution my practice is taking. slowing down to a new level. Being still and watching the breath within the unraveling process of the congestion inside the body.


now... back to Bangalore and practice. Arun is hilarious! A man of rememberance, great integrity, many languages, unwavering strength and stillness, met with a fierce passion to share his inner light found through yoga.  

Entering the yoga shala, Prashant YogaShraya - I felt immediately at home, surrounded by dozens of fellow Indian men and women, curious as to where I received my brown skin, yet foreign American tendencies. The culture of India is in my blood; I have been here before. 

Arun calls me many names.  Alec•nirengen; which is a Sanskrit word for Shiva. Ironically enough, he also calls me Alec•naga, which is a serpent in the yoga tradition, symbolizing many energies, deities.  Represented with endless coils floating in the infinite eternal realm of primal energy and shakti. He also calls me that due to my over flexible spine... followed by a compassionate,  

" You Must Learn to Control Your Flexiblity  "


Arunji also names me, Mr. Vishal, or Mr. Bhatnagar (my mothers maiden name).   

In my 5.5 years of practice, I have never received as much individual attention as I have received in the past 5 weeks of study on Maui & from Arun. 



So... this is the past week. We have about 22 hours of contact practice time with Arun each week... 4 more weeks to go! 




In conclusion, my time in India is spent cultivating the planting of a studentship and mentorship seed with Eddie Modestini. As well as being a fellow student with him. Having a daily practice of Harnessing concentration, intention, and attention in refining, reDefining, experimenting, exploring, and connecting to an evolving understanding of the practice of yoga and the physical well-being with mental peace that arrives with a consistent practice through the limbs of yoga- is what India is - so far - revealing. Coming to the edge of the cliff is where we grow most- seeing what is in front of us- looking at our mental, emotional, and pyshical stuff and trying to rise above habitual patterns we create that hold us back from becoming who we are meant to be. 


Infinite pranams- prayers- and bowing of the heart to patanjali, brahma, Oneness, spirit , god!!!  Growing into an embrace of LOVE for ourselves 💚 



tomorrow, we are heading to the renown city of Mysore, India! I will see my asana teacher, ty there, which will be a gift ! A true honor it is to live and travel with Eddie modestini, return to Mysore, his old stomping grounds of 15 years when he studied with guruji. 



signing off for now. 10:26pm on December first, waking up at 415am for the 2 hour 615am practice.


🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪I love India 🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪🇳🇪